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Open AccessArticle

Illumination on “Reserving Phloem and Discarding Xylem” and Quality Evaluation of Radix polygalae by Determining Oligosaccharide Esters, Saponins, and Xanthones

Tianjin State Key Laboratory of Modern Chinese Medicine, Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tianjin 300193, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Molecules 2018, 23(4), 836;
Received: 12 March 2018 / Revised: 31 March 2018 / Accepted: 2 April 2018 / Published: 5 April 2018
PDF [6725 KB, uploaded 3 May 2018]


The root of Polygala tenuifolia Willd. or Polygala sibirica L. exhibits protective effects on the central nervous system and is frequently used to treat insomnia, amnesia, and other cognitive dysfunction. In our study, we studied nine bioactive compounds spanning oligosaccharide esters, saponins, and xanthones by using a sensitive, efficient, and validated method established on ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled with triple quadrupole mass spectrometry. The quantified result of interesting compounds proved that accumulation of those compounds were found in phloem rather than in xylem. By taking the standardized result of nine compound contents into account, the “Spider-web” analytical result of xylem and phloem from Radix polygalae (RP) unveiled the rationality of RP’s classical use in clinic including discarding the xylem and reserving the phloem. Moreover, the remarkable variation was also revealed from the quantitative result of 45 samples with different diameters from the different origins, which did not significantly correlate with the variation of RP’s diameter. Our study could shed the light on the quality assessment of RP for further research and illustrate the scientific connotation of the processing method of “discarding the xylem and reserving the phloem”. View Full-Text
Keywords: Radix polygalae; UPLC-ESI-MS/MS; quantification; xylem; phloem Radix polygalae; UPLC-ESI-MS/MS; quantification; xylem; phloem

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Yang, F.; Yu, H.; Chai, X.; Peng, S.; Yang, J.; Wu, D.; Du, J.; Wang, Y. Illumination on “Reserving Phloem and Discarding Xylem” and Quality Evaluation of Radix polygalae by Determining Oligosaccharide Esters, Saponins, and Xanthones. Molecules 2018, 23, 836.

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